"Musical dawn, playing five of the most difficult instruments. Famous tiradora al blanco. Known as the fastest caricaturist. Alba will present in his sculptural forms a tarabajo [sic] athletic gladiator ". In this sensational way, the Gran Teatro Isabel La Católica in Granada announced the spectacle of this "world encyclopedic artist", Alba Tiberio, on October 26, 1916. The hand program highlighted that the function was "highly moral for families".
Among the public that came to see such a marvel was José Oriol Catena, a friend of Federico García Lorca in the Faculty of Philosophy and Letters of the University of Granada. Oriol Catena (Granada, 1896-Madrid, 1960) became an outstanding journalist, later a teacher, who kept his whole life a great passion for the show.
Of the events he attended, he had a habit of keeping the hand program. After the death of his widow, in 1979, the three children were divided. Five years ago, the family decided to reunite part of them for their study: they added 3,288 of shows mounted in Granada between 1879 and 1930. The programs -colorful, expandable, …- include photos of stars like Margarita Xirgu, who starred on March 20, 1915 The heart sends, work that was part of a long evening, but that, as the program warned, being "dedicated to Granada ladies", would end "before twelve". Only of this actress near Lorca they keep about 50.
In his house in Madrid, Nicolás Oriol de Alarcón, the son of that in love with the theater, leafs through the filing cabinets. He proudly shows the photo in which his father and Lorca pose, sitting on the floor with their legs crossed, separated by two professors, during a visit to the Alhambra, in a snapshot of the late ten years.
That young man with a mustache, belonging to a prosperous family of merchants, of which he was the oldest of seven brothers, worked as a journalist in The truth Y The Defender of Pomegranate. The Oriol were related to the intellectuals of the city, including Manuel de Falla, who called "the little Paris" a circle to which also belonged the socialist Fernando de los Ríos, minister in the Second Republic.
He moved to Madrid around 1931. In the capital, "he went to the theater two or three times a week," recalls his son. "He was interested not only as an amateur, but also as a teacher, because he taught language and literature." He directed an academy for the elite and was a teacher at the Ferrer Institute, with a progressive ideology. His Republican friendships brought him in April 1939, after finishing the Civil War, a debugging file that separated him from his place, although not from his fondness for theater. His son remembers how he "took her by the hand" to the functions.
More than 6,000 shows
The family has completed, after three years of work, a digitized database with the information collected in the programs. José María Oriol López, grandson of the journalist, states that they have located in Granada 22 spaces that were used at that time for shows, including laptops. "There were more than 6,200 events in this period. There passed 271 companies, the most viewed work of the 1,602 staged was The corsairs, humorous-lyrical humorada that took the stage 123 times. Of 724 authors, the most represented were the Álvarez Quintero brothers. "
This abundant material has been classified by years, titles of the works and artists, with more than 4,000 of different disciplines, among them, the theatrical interpreters Leopoldo Fregoli or Carmen Cobeña, the cupletista Dora la Cordobesita or the violinist Telmo Vela. A glance allows you to check the various types of shows that were announced: astracanadas, comic-lyric caprices, jokes, absurdities, exotic-fantastic dramas, Andalusian sainetes, zarzuelas of Valencian customs, concerts, operas, circus … "We want to make a web of free access for those interested ", adds Oriol López.
"We have finished a book about my father and his hand programs. There are several publishers interested ", third Nicolás Oriol. The institutions with which they have contacted have not found it interesting to acquire or exhibit this archive of half a century of scenic memory that, the longer it passes, the greater the risk of deterioration if it is not preserved in better conditions. The Theater Documentation Center, dependent on Culture, tells EL PAÍS that it would need a description of the documents in order to judge them. José Oriol Catena himself said: "Let's see what can be done with my hand programs; It would be a pity if they were lost. "